Jack Higgins has taken home the Morrish Medal as part of the end-of-season TAC Cup boys and TAC Cup Girls best-and-fairest evening at the Australian Events Centre in Essendon on Sunday night.
The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder/forward continued a standout season by claiming his club’s first-ever Morrish Medal for the TAC Cup’s best and fairest player during the 2017 home-and-away season.
The 18-year-old East Malvern (South Metro Junior FL) product polled 22 votes – the highest tally since 2011 – in 13 games for minor premier Oakleigh, a club that has won four TAC Cup premierships in its 23-year history but hadn’t previously produced a Morrish Medallist.
Higgins finished two votes clear of Calder Cannons skipper Brad Bernacki (20 votes), with Geelong Falcons goalkicker Gryan Miers (15), Sandringham Dragons 19-year-old Hamish Brayshaw (15) and Eastern Ranges big man Sam Hayes (14) rounding out the top five on the leaderboard.
Brayshaw led the count after Round 8 with 12 votes (ahead of Miers on 10), having polled maximum votes in four games before progressing to play 12 senior VFL for the Sandringham Zebras. Bernacki assumed leadership of the count with four consecutive three-vote performances and a two-vote performance between Rounds 8 and 12, sitting clear of Brayshaw on 16 votes at the end of that run.
Higgins didn’t play from Round 10-12 while representing Vic Metro at the NAB AFL U18 Championships and was five votes behind Bernacki when he resumed in the TAC Cup in Round 13. He commenced his charge immediately with a three-vote performance, before drawing level with Bernacki following a two-vote performance in Round 15, moving clear with three votes in Round 16 and then taking an unassailable lead in the count with another three votes in Round 17 – the penultimate round of the home-and-away season.
178cm Higgins averaged 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles per game this season, while also kicking 27 goals to finish seventh on the TAC Cup goalkicking table. The NAB AFL Academy member polled three votes in five games, two votes on three occasions and one vote once, with his three-vote performances including:
- 28 disposals and one goal in a 40-point win against the GWV Rebels at Warrawee Park in Round 6;
- 20 disposals, seven marks and four goals in an 88-point win against the Dandenong Stingrays at Shepley Oval in Round 7;
- 30 disposals, 11 clearances, seven tackles and two goals in a 48-point win against GWV at Eureka Stadium in Round 13;
- 21 disposals, seven tackles and three goals in an eight-point win against Sandringham at Rams Arena in Round 16; and
- 13 disposals and seven goals in an 88-point win against the Bendigo Pioneers at Warrawee Park in Round 17.
Higgins’ Morrish Medal success adds to a decorated 2017 season in which he won Vic Metro’s MVP and best-and-fairest awards as well as U18 All Australian selection following his performances in Metro’s title-winning U18 Championships campaign.
2017 MORRISH MEDAL LEADERBOARD:
|Jack Higgins||Oakleigh Chargers||22|
|Brad Bernacki||Calder Cannons||20|
|Gryan Miers||Geelong Falcons||15|
|Hamish Brayshaw||Sandringham Dragons||15|
|Sam Hayes||Eastern Ranges||14|
|James Worpel||Geelong Falcons||13|
|Toby Wooller||Oakleigh Chargers||13|
|Callum Porter||Gippsland Power||12|
|Jaidyn Stephenson||Eastern Ranges||12|
|Will Stephenson||Gippsland Power||12|
|Daniel Johnston||Murray Bushrangers||11|
|Cassidy Parish||Geelong Falcons||11|
|Noah Balta||Calder Cannons||10|
|Riley D’Arcy||Dandenong Stingrays||10|
|Tom De Koning||Dandenong Stingrays||10|
|Isaac Quaynor||Oakleigh Chargers||10|
|Callan Wellings||GWV Rebels||10|
*full voting will be available on TAC Cup website early in the week
Other winners on the night included:
Personal Growth Award:
Jack Roughsedge – Oakleigh Chargers / Gabrielle Deller – Geelong Falcons
Daniel Johnston – Murray Bushrangers (45 goals) / Chloe Molloy – Calder Cannons (20 goals)
TAC Cup Team of the Year – Click link for team
TAC Cup Girls team of the Year – Click link for team
TAC Cup Girls best and fairest: Chloe Molloy – Calder Cannons / Bridie Kennedy – Dandenong Stingrays
WATCH A FULL REPLAY OF THE NIGHT BELOW